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Does eating late at night cause weight gain?

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Does eating late at night cause weight gain?

The late night munchies. We’re all guilty of it and yet never feel great about it the next morning. Eating later at night when you’re just going to go to bed doesn’t do much good to our bodies. Why not?

Eating, when it was invented, was meant to fuel the human body for energy expenditure. And that's still how everyone on Earth minus America does it. With the oodles of convenience around us, eating has become an easy way to pack on the pounds while in the sedentary lifestyle 95.32% of Americans live.

Until very recently, my thoughts have just been common sense without much concrete science behind it. Thankfully for you and me, scientists keep sciencing! Yep. Just turned that into a verb. 

Here's the down and dirty from a recent study linking obesity risk and eating later in the day:

16 subjects were put on the same regimen with food and other lifestyle habits, like sleep, physical activity, and light exposure. One group ate earlier in the day and one group ate approximately four hours later. And this is what happened ...

1. Eating later in the day alters the appetite-regulating hormone known as ghrelin (remember I touched on this one a couple months back?) and the appetite-suppression hormone known as leptin.

2. Subjects who ate later in the day saw a lower metabolism (daily caloric burn) and their fat genes were altered in favor of more lipid (fat) storage.

3. Late eaters in the study exhibited a decreased core body temperature, which also has an effect on daily energy expenditure.

So there's the evidence ... but what are things that lead to late-night eating?

1. Boredom. Staying up light watching TV or doom-scrolling isn’t likely to lead to healthy eating habits. Put the tech down and close your eyeballs.

2. Hunger. Alcohol consumption isn’t your friend if you want to avoid late-night eating and obesity. And neither is neglecting protein and water in your lifestyle.

3. Binge-eating disorder. I’m not a specialist, so if you think you need help in this arena, please contact us and we'll put you in touched with a licensed professional.

4. Night eating syndrome. You find yourself eating all your calories at night, have trouble sleeping, and then you eat more in the middle of the night. This condition is tied to insomnia 4-5 times per week, depression in the evening hours, and lack of appetite through the day. You’d have to see a specialist for tests to diagnose this.

Some of these above causes of late-night eating are certainly fueled by prioritizing every other thing in life except for yourself. The same song and dance I hear every single day.

Work. Family. School. Husband that doesn’t want to see their wife happy or healthy but he can go buy himself a new truck he doesn’t need. Whatever it is, obesity linked to late-night eating can always be prevented when you put your mind to it!

But hey what do I know? There’s always tomorrow. Or next Monday. Oh, maybe the New Year, most definitely!

Sure, website dweller. You are 100% correct. There’s always another day to prioritize your health … until there isn’t.


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